Jim’s Journal: Stronger Together

Someone once said, “Life is nothing without a little chaos to make it interesting.” This, coupled with the old Yiddish curse, “May you live in interesting times” very clearly defines what is happening in the world of higher education at the moment.

My staff and I are doing everything we can to keep on top of the ever-changing situation on 170 college campuses around the world. We have one overriding concern: doing everything we can to help ensure the safety of our undergraduate Brothers.

As you certainly know, there are hundreds of cases of positive COVID tests on college campuses right now. A lot of this uptick seems to be centering around Greek life. AEPi is no exception. We have had dozens of positive cases already.

We’ve been preparing for this since last spring. For those Brothers living in our managed houses, we have provided enhanced cleaning equipment, masks, and other PPE. We’ve done our best to set up isolation rooms in houses for Brothers who test positive and have developed and communicated new procedures to all of our Brothers.

But college students – and especially fraternity men – are inherently social. Living in population-dense environments such as off-campus housing or dorms, getting meals in communal environments, and attending class were always going to increase the risk of increased contagions.

We are working cooperatively with our colleagues in higher education to provide as safe an environment as possible for students. Our website is constantly being updated with new information and resources for our students and parents. Please check out aepi.org/covid-19-updates.

The one positive I can take from this whole situation is that many of our chapters are focusing on the true meaning of Alpha Epsilon Pi during this time. Instead of relying on big events to recruit new members, they are focusing on (socially distant) one-on-one discussions and getting to know each other better. Our Brothers are refocusing on our mission to develop the future leaders of the world’s Jewish communities.

It’s tough. But, I honestly believe that we will be a stronger Brotherhood because of this refocus on our shared values and mission.

We will do everything we can to protect our Brothers and our Brotherhood. Together – though separate – we are stronger and will persevere.

Please allow me to be among the first to wish you and your families a sweet, happy, safe and healthy New Year. L’Shanah Tovah to all of our Brothers, families, friends and partners.